Life as we Know It takes a crack at perfecting the typical opposites-attract set-up. The one glitch is this scenario has complications – a baby. So, how does “life” transcend from screen to life as we know and live it?
Sharing mutual friends isn’t always the best thing. Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is a responsible, hard working woman attending culinary school with dreams to own a bakery and catering business. Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is quite the opposite – he’s irrational, never one to stick around in a relationship, but has a promising career as a network sports director for major sporting events. Their friends Pete and Alison think they would make an ideal couple and set them up for a date – a date that has “disaster” written all over before it even begins. They make it to the car arguing over which restaurant to dine at before each stomp off in the opposite direction throwing insults over their shoulders at each other and breathing sighs of relief at never having to see one another again. Little do they know how wrong they were…
There is a lot to be admired about this story – it’s endearing by its own merit but sometimes the characters are morally screwy. Speaking from narrative perspectives, it’s one of the most adorable scripts ever. Having seen a television movie with similarities, my interest WAS immediately piqued. Unfortunately for its audience, with every encouraging glimmer Hollywood allots for too much troublesome material to make it wholly pleasant. Despite the griping and constant allowances that all movies follow standard clichés, we have proven that, if honest, we don’t really mind that. We like happy endings; we want to see two likable, leading characters follow their hearts at credits rolling. And Hollywood knows that… what they also know is that in spite of it all, we still go back to the box office, supporting their apparent bid to try and tell us that the lifestyle which the characters lead is “okay.” If only allowed one element to eliminate, for me it would be the drug use. Pete and Messer confiscate some from teens at which point Pete shares that he and Alison occasionally “reminisce” by using. Apparently still in the house, Holly and Messer find them and bake brownies. Having this in the script, no matter how small an “indulgence” was tacky since as a rule – and this is an “fyi” to writers, viewers want to like the characters. Filmmakers likely thought it funny – meant as “harmless” – but it ceased to amuse to say nothing of bad parenting. Probably none of the audience in my showing would have missed any of the crummy material had it been absent. All this does is make for an irresponsible picture of two people raising a child. Just as one starts relaxing, chuckling at something with genuine pull behind it, something inevitably comes along which effectively spoils the moment.
Whenever a child is part of the mix there will be the usual “poking” fun at the challenges that come with a one-year-old. Some of those instances are fine and handled with assurance, others are ridiculous. Joys and changes follow that responsibility, no matter if you have chosen to be a parent or it was thrust on you without choice, but there are too many beautiful moments to dismiss and make it appear more a burden. Nearer the end, writers do an excellent job of bringing that to light – such as Baby taking her first steps or saying “mama,” but the majority is spent getting past rough patches. Katherine Heigl is a favorite actress, so I am partial to most her roles for that reason, and here is no different. She and Josh are quite good, all things considered. Josh plays the stereotype role to the hilt, and with that comes a predictable subplot involving a second love interest. Anytime there are two men falling for the leading lady, I cannot help but feel bad for the “loser,” so long as he’s a nice guy. In this case, it’s Sam (an under-used Josh Lucas). You “know” who will prevail by films close, so in that way, who cares? But on the other hand, wouldn’t it be a switch, if for once, we were fooled and they choose the more stable, but just as likable guy? The triplets who play Sophie during the better part of the film are adorable. Lots of moments serve to make you tear up, which says something in favor of the cast. The first fifteen to twenty minutes seem to move really fast in order to set up the stories basic premise.
Many profound speeches and touching moments cumulate which grasp better merits from the story. There’s a “cute” babysitter, moments of poignant lessons and realizations about raising Sophie, and its importance. All in all, I won’t deny that I didn’t have fun seeing this – I don’t regret that. What is regrettable is the fact that we cannot always applaud Holly and Messer’s choices; something that while not unusual is made worse by the presence of Sophie, someone very much affected by those choices.
- Life as we Know It (Ruth's review)
(Rated PG13 because of: the first fifteen minutes offer dozens of references to getting “laid” or “sleeping around” [including one crude reference to male anatomy]. All the married women and one homosexual partner eye Messer throughout, finding him attractive – he’s a flirt. There are about three implications of pre-marital sex. Profanity employs watered down uses of the f-word along with one nearly inaudible “f- you.” Rounding that out is h*ll, sh*t, da*n, a**, GD and taking Jesus’ name in vain. A character gets drunk in addition to references and one-time drug use.)